Paying debts

By AL DIAMON  |  September 26, 2012

Although, probably not. This rosy economic scenario is about as likely to occur as it is for some Nigerian prince to send me big bucks.

The only way the state would save that money is if it stopped issuing new bonds. And that isn't going to happen.

Already, Maine has $40 million in borrowing that's been authorized by voters, but has yet to be sold. In part, that's because LePage has refused to issue those bonds, thereby delaying efforts to beautify Skowhegan and Livermore Falls (bulldoze everything?) and yet another wind-energy boondoggle. If and when the governor releases those funds, they'll have only a minimal impact on the budget, since the state is scheduled to retire more debt than that each year.

But there's also the little matter of $76 million in bonds awaiting voter approval on the November ballot. They include funding for deer wintering yards (can't they fly south like the moose do) and an animal health lab at the University of Maine (for those deer who stay here all winter and catch cold), although most of the cash would go to transportation projects (which somehow includes $1.5 million for a warehouse in Eastport).

I'll take a deep breath and reluctantly vote to borrow $51 million to fix highways and byways. I'll exhale and check "no" next to bonds for higher education ($11.3 million), the Land for Maine's Future Program ($5 million), and water and sewer projects ($8 million). As nice as it would be to do all that, it ought to be put off until existing debts have been paid.

Or until a Nigerian prince sends us a check.

Bond with me by emailing aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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